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Arabists' Challenge to Bailey's *haflat samar* Interpretation

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  • Theodore Weeden
    Dear Listers, I need your help. As some of you know, I engaged in a critique of Kenneth Bailey’s theory of oral tradition on XTalk in a series of posts on
    Message 1 of 16 , Sep 8 9:35 AM
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      Dear Listers,

      I need your help. As some of you know, I engaged in a critique of Kenneth
      Bailey’s theory of oral tradition on XTalk in a series of posts on 9/6/01,
      11/30/01, 12/1-2/01, 12/25/01(Archives # 8301, 8570, 8580-82, 8730,
      respectively), a critique which I am still working on for publication.
      Briefly, for all, Bailey has advanced a theory which he contends vouches
      for the fact that the authentic oral tradition about Jesus was from the
      beginning accurately preserved and faithfully transmitted during the first
      generations of the Jesus movement prior to the writing of the Synoptic
      Gospels. Bailey calls his theory “informal controlled oral tradition.”
      The theory occurred to him and was subsequently developed from
      insights drawn and extrapolated from his years of observation and
      experience of the way oral tradition is transmitted, according to Bailey,
      from generation to generation in the Christian communities John Hogg
      founded in the 19C, communities in which Bailey taught and preached
      in the 1950’s and 60’s. He presents his theory of informal controlled
      oral tradition in two articles, “Informal Controlled Oral Tradition and
      the Synoptic Gospels, ” _AJT_, 5 (1991), 34-54 and “Middle Eastern
      Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels,” _ET_, 106 (1994-95), 363-367.
      See, also, Bailey’s on-line article, “{Informal Controlled Oral Tradition
      and the Synoptic Gospels” (a reprint of his _AJT_ article, slightly revised,
      in _Themelios_) at www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_tradition_bailey.html.

      I have since refined and reworked my critique and presented it as a paper
      at the 2004 SBL annual meeting in Philadelphia. Mark Goodacre, Ken Olson
      and James Dunn, who is an advocate of Bailey’s theory, were there in the
      session when I presented the critique. Subsequently, Bob Webb, executive
      editor of _JSHJ_, and a member of XTalk, invited me to submit my critique to
      be considered as an article for the journal. I have not been able to move
      along as rapidly as I would like in getting a manuscript to Bob due to a new
      critical problem with Bailey’s theory which I have been trying to get my
      head around. It is that problem which I share here, with the hopes that
      some of you may be helpful to me in how I address the problem.

      As a number of you know, I have up to this point primarily faulted Bailey’s
      theory because I have found that he seriously misrepresented the only extant
      source he offers in support of his theory. That extant source is Rena Hogg’s
      biography of her father, John Hogg, in which she shares stories about her
      father she learned from the Hogg-founded communities, stories Bailey claims
      he heard with almost identical wording some forty years later. I have
      found minimal correspondence, at best, between the stories that Rena Hogg
      heard and the stories Bailey reports he heard. But I do not want to rehash
      that issue here.

      The problem that I am now addressing is problem that I have discovered with
      Bailey’s definition and interpretation of the Arabic phrase *haflat samar*,
      so foundational and indispensable to his theory. Bailey claims that he
      experienced the manifestation of his theory of oral tradition in the *haflat
      samar* of the Hogg-founded communities in 1950’s and 60’s where he taught
      and preached in Arabic. In his articles, Bailey translates *haflat* as
      "party" and *samar* as "preservation." *Samar*, Bailey contends, is a
      cognate of the Hebrew *shamar* ("preserve"). Thus, *haflat samar* means "a
      party for preservation." Contextually, Bailey states that he experienced
      the *haflat samar* as almost a nightly gathering in which the communities
      rehearsed the oral tradition of their respective communities as a way of
      accurately preserving and faithfully transmitting from generation to
      generation the historical authenticity of their traditions.

      Two years ago, when I lived in Appleton, Wisconsin, I decided that I should
      interview people born and raised in the Middle East to see what their
      recollections were of a *haflat samar* in their native communities to
      discover whether their recollections coincided with Bailey’s claims. At the
      time, I was a friend of Salman Assis, the Muslim Imam for the Muslim
      community in the Fox Valley region of Wisconsin. I came to know him
      because he asked me, along with other Christian clergy, to participate in an
      on-going panel for a public service television program, aired periodically,
      to discuss national and world issues from an Islamic and Christian
      perspective. Salman arranged for me to conduct interviews with a number of
      the members of his community who were raised in Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt.

      In those interviews, I was given a different definition and culturally
      contextual interpretation of *haflat samar*.. According to these native
      Middle East persons *haflat samar* means a Agathering for amusement or
      entertainment." Their translation of *haflat* wass consistent with
      Bailey's. But they offered a significantly different translation of
      *samar*. One of these Muslims, Layla Yahyawi-Valenzuela, a native Syrian
      who teaches Arabic at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, told me in a
      phone conversation that the Arabic term *samar* means literally "nightly" or
      "darkly" and the word is often given as a name for girls who have dark hair,
      and that *samar* also conveys the meaning of nightly conversations, talks or
      chats at night or at darkness.

      Furthermore, she told me that a *haflat samar* is an occasion when people
      gather together at night to hear stories about historical events or
      personages, with the emphasis being placed upon telling such stories for
      entertainment or amusement. Thus, the primary purpose of telling these
      stories is not to pass on historically authentic and authoritative, factual
      information about events and personages, but rather to entertain those
      gathered, much the same as people today turn to TV today for entertainment.
      And, the storytellers at a *haflat samar* are there to entertain, not to
      assure the accurate transmission of the traditions of the particular oral
      culture. In fact, in order to maintain the interest of an audience, a
      storyteller will often tell a familiar old story with added embellishments
      and a new spin, much the same as entertainers do today.

      On February 21, 2005, Jeffrey Gibson kindly posted a request to ANE on my
      behalf to see if any one on that list could shed some light on *haflat
      samar*. There was no response to Jeffrey’s query. Branching out further,
      I decided to “google” *haflat samar*. I found two interesting results from
      my search: (1) an article on the Lebanese playwright Saddallah Wannus, with
      reference to his play “Haflat Samar Min ajl 5 Huzairan,” translated into
      English as “An Evening Entertainment [i.e. *haflat samar*] for the 5th of
      June,” and (2) and various references to Bailey’s theory, now espoused by
      others.

      Events in my life caused me to set aside my inquiry into the meaning and
      purpose of a *haflat samar* until this past spring when I decided to see if
      I could find in the Rochester area, where I now live, an Arabic scholar who
      could shed any more light upon the discrepancy I had discovered in Wisconsin
      between Bailey’s interpretation of a *haflat samar* and the native Middle
      East people I had interview. Local inquiries led me to contact Daniel
      Beaumont, who teaches Arabic at the University of Rochester. In a
      telephone conversation and exchange of e-mail, Beaumont essentially
      confirmed what professor Yahyawi-Valenzula of UW-Oshkosh told me. In an
      e-mail, he stated the following: "The phrase *haflat samar* means "evening
      party." It primarily signifies entertainment, not instruction, and it has
      no connotation of any sort of process of preserving learning or passing it
      on. At such a gathering one might expect, music, poetry, storytelling. A
      medieval writer notes that among the stories told at such gatherings are
      those found in The 1001 Nights--and no one has ever dared to claim
      historical accuracy for those."

      Even though, I had now found two Arabic scholars who agreed together against
      Bailey, I felt I needed to get the take from at least a third. A
      publication deadline I had with respect to a major writing project, plus
      XTalk thread exchanges and other pressing matters in the spring and early
      summer caused me to delay in finding a third Arabic scholar. Then, this
      summer I came across an article on Arabic Studies at Emory University in
      _The Emory Magazine_, which I receive as an alumnus. However, it was not
      until Tuesday of this week that I was able to get in touch with an Arabic
      scholar at Emory. Since then, I have had a phone conversation and an
      exchange of e-mails with Devin Stewart, Winship Distinguished Research
      Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Department of Middle Eastern and
      South Asian Studies at Emory.

      Pursuant to my phone inquiry with respect to the meaning of the Arabic
      *samar* and *haflat samar*, Stewart via e-mail informed me that the Arabic
      *samar* means “conversation, talk at night.” It does *not* mean “to
      preserve" (emphasis: mine).” He stated that in E. W. Lane's
      _Arabic-English Lexicon_ (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1984)—the
      standard lexicon which is based on all of the main medieval Arabic
      dictionaries of classical Arabic—the following is found on p. 1424: “verb
      *samara*, *yasmuru*, *samr*. He held a conversation, or discourse, by
      night.” Stewart, also, noted that on p. 1425, the noun *samar* is
      translated, thus: “conversation, or discourse, by night.” Furthermore, he
      pointed out that *samiir*, a related noun also found on p.1425, commonly
      serves as the Arabic name, *Samiir*, along with the cognate *Samiirah*,
      “referring to someone who is a conversation partner at night.”

      In addition, Stewart cited from Martin Hinds and El-Said Badawi's _A
      Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic_ (Beirut: Librairie du Liban, 1986), a
      dictionary of modern Egyptian dialect, this entry on p. 429: “*h.aflit [the
      Egyptian dialectal pronunciation of *h.aflat* or *haflat*, per Stewart]
      *samar*, an evening party or gathering in the open air (usually around a
      camp-fire); verb *saamir*, *yisaamir*, to spend the evening with (s.o.) in
      pleasant conversation, etc.; *musamra*/*misamara*, evening spent in
      conversation with friends.” Finally, Stewart observed that, to quote him,
      “the content of what is termed *samar* may, of course, vary in practice; it
      may be both amusing and edifying, but is generally anecdotal; and it may
      help preserve some oral traditions, but the sense behind *samar* is that it
      is ‘pleasant, enjoyable’ not that it is a programmatic exercise in
      preserving the past.”

      I shared my formulation of Stewart's information with Stewart, as just
      cited, and he told me that it is an accurate and fair recounting of what he
      reported to me. Subsequently, based upon Stewart’s information, as well as
      the interviews I had previously conducted, I framed the following statement
      and shared it with Stewart and asked for his critique of it. The statement
      is, as follows:

      “Contrary to Bailey, the Arabic phrase *haflat samar* in Middle East Arabic
      societies, according to the Arabic authorities I have consulted, refers to a
      communal “evening gathering for conversation or discourse,” and not to a
      communal “party for *preservation*:” so Bailey. The purpose of such evening
      discourse, again contrary to Bailey, is solely for the purpose of
      entertainment and/or edification, and is not intended to be understood as an
      occasion for the faithful passing on of the historically authentic oral
      traditions, indigenous to a respective Middle East society, in order to
      preserve with authoritative accuracy the memory of those traditions from one
      generation to the next. That anecdotal stories from a respective society’s
      oral tradition may be passed on in *hafalat [plural of *haflatt*] samar* is
      quite probable, but not with the purpose of insuring the preservation of the
      original, historically authentic character and content of such stories.”

      In response, Stewart stated that he concurred with that statement. All of
      this leaves me mystified. I do not know what to make of the discrepancy
      between Bailey’s claims for the definition and purpose of a *haflat samar*
      and what the Arabists, such as Stewart contend. Could it be that the
      Hogg-founded communities of southern Egypt had given their own specific
      interpretation to their almost nightly *haflat samar* and turned their
      *haflat samar* into sessions to preserve faithfully the authenticity of
      their oral tradition, as Bailey tells us? But then, why did Bailey claim
      that the *samar* means “to preserve” and is a cognate of the Hebrew
      *shamar*? Has Bailey misled us, and particularly those scholars such as
      James Dunn and N. T. Wright, who subscribe to Bailey’s theory? I
      want to be fair to Bailey and give him the benefit of the doubt. But I
      am mystified.

      I have sent several posts to James Dunn, who knows Bailey personally,
      to see if he can offer an explanation. As yet, I have not heard from
      Jimmie. Do any of you have wisdom on what I have uncovered? It
      would be helpful to me if you could suggest how to resolve this quandary
      before I share in the article I am writing _JSHJ_, and Bob Webb would like
      to have that as soon as possible.

      A final note: I am still working on the past posts of Rikk Watts, Brian
      Trafford and Bob Schacht to respond to them. I hope soon to have a very
      lengthy essay, necessitated by the argument, on John’s mimesis of Mark,
      specifically with respect to Judas’ betrayal. The essay is in only partial
      response to Rikk’s post to me.

      Ted Weeden
      Fairport, NY
      Retired
      Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
    • Bob Schacht
      ... [much snipped] ... Ted, My response is as an anthropologist. Dictionary definitions are supposed to be normative. They often have to offer secondary
      Message 2 of 16 , Sep 8 1:53 PM
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        At 06:35 AM 9/8/2006, Theodore Weeden wrote:
        >Dear Listers,
        >
        >I need your help.

        [much snipped]

        >The problem that I am now addressing is problem that I have discovered with
        >Bailey's definition and interpretation of the Arabic phrase *haflat samar*,
        >so foundational and indispensable to his theory. . . .
        >
        >In those interviews, I was given a different definition and culturally
        >contextual interpretation of *haflat samar*.. According to these native
        >Middle East persons *haflat samar* means a Agathering for amusement or
        >entertainment." Their translation of *haflat* wass consistent with
        >Bailey's. But they offered a significantly different translation of
        >*samar*. ... the Arabic term *samar* means literally "nightly" or
        >"darkly" . . .and that *samar* also conveys the meaning of nightly
        >conversations, talks or
        >chats at night or at darkness.
        >
        >Furthermore, she told me that a *haflat samar* is an occasion when people
        >gather together at night to hear stories about historical events or
        >personages, with the emphasis being placed upon telling such stories for
        >entertainment or amusement. Thus, the primary purpose of telling these
        >stories is not to pass on historically authentic and authoritative, factual
        >information about events and personages, but rather to entertain those
        >gathered, . . .
        >
        >. . . based upon Stewart's information, as well as the interviews I had
        >previously conducted, I framed the following statement and shared it with
        >Stewart and asked for his critique of it. The statement is, as follows:
        >
        >"Contrary to Bailey, the Arabic phrase *haflat samar* in Middle East Arabic
        >societies, according to the Arabic authorities I have consulted, refers to a
        >communal "evening gathering for conversation or discourse," and not to a
        >communal "party for *preservation*:" so Bailey. The purpose of such evening
        >discourse, again contrary to Bailey, is solely for the purpose of
        >entertainment and/or edification, and is not intended to be understood as an
        >occasion for the faithful passing on of the historically authentic oral
        >traditions, indigenous to a respective Middle East society, in order to
        >preserve with authoritative accuracy the memory of those traditions from one
        >generation to the next. That anecdotal stories from a respective society's
        >oral tradition may be passed on in *hafalat [plural of *haflatt*] samar* is
        >quite probable, but not with the purpose of insuring the preservation of the
        >original, historically authentic character and content of such stories."
        >
        >In response, Stewart stated that he concurred with that statement. All of
        >this leaves me mystified. I do not know what to make of the discrepancy
        >between Bailey's claims for the definition and purpose of a *haflat samar*
        >and what the Arabists, such as Stewart contend. Could it be that the
        >Hogg-founded communities of southern Egypt had given their own specific
        >interpretation to their almost nightly *haflat samar* and turned their
        >*haflat samar* into sessions to preserve faithfully the authenticity of
        >their oral tradition, as Bailey tells us? But then, why did Bailey claim
        >that the *samar* means "to preserve" and is a cognate of the Hebrew
        >*shamar*? Has Bailey misled us, and particularly those scholars such as
        >James Dunn and N. T. Wright, who subscribe to Bailey's theory? I
        >want to be fair to Bailey and give him the benefit of the doubt. But I
        >am mystified.

        Ted,
        My response is as an anthropologist. Dictionary definitions are supposed to
        be normative. They often have to offer secondary definitions where more
        than one usage is common. Normative definitions are most useful when the
        speech community is homogenous, in both space and time. You have a
        scholar's definition that relies on a widely used dictionary of Arabic.
        What I would want to know from each of your sources, as an anthropologist,
        is which literary and speech communities are their primary sources? By this
        I mean geographical referents (such as "Egyptian Arabic" or "Iraqi Arabic")
        as well as class variants ( Literary Arabic, urban street Arabic, rural
        desert Arabic) and sectarian variants (e.g., Shi'ite vs. Sunni vs.
        Wahhabi). The Arabic speech community is widely dispersed, and local usages
        may vary. One definition may not fit all Arabic speech communities now, let
        alone 100 years ago. There can be Arabic apples and Arabic oranges, and its
        best not to equate them.

        Of course, it is also possible that Bailey's definition is filtered through
        rose colored glasses. And, the Haflat Samar that he experienced may not
        have been typical.

        Bob
        University of Hawaii


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • John C. Poirier
        Ted, I look forward to reading your finished article. Your reference to the *samar* roots of the 1001 Nights reminded me of a book that I read years ago:
        Message 3 of 16 , Sep 8 2:05 PM
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          Ted,

          I look forward to reading your finished article.

          Your reference to the *samar* roots of the 1001 Nights reminded me of a book
          that I read years ago: Sandra Naddaff's *Arabesque: Narrative Structure and
          the Aesthetics of Repetition in 1001 Nights* (Evanston, IL: Northwestern
          Univ. Press, 1991). On p. 65 of that book, Naddaff writes:

          One should begin at the beginning, in this case, outsdide the text, and
          remember that the earliest version of the *1001 Nights* was an aurally
          intended work perrformed before a live audience. André Miquel notes
          that it was possibly told as part of the *samar*, "cette pratique quasi
          institutionnêlle de la culture arabo-musulmane classique: la
          conversation
          nocturne. . . . Le *samar* est d'ordinaire ce qui clôt la journée
          active,
          avant le repos nocturne, et l'on a toutes raisons de penser que c'est
          de
          ce type-là que relève le *samar* du conteur, qu'on l'imagine au milieu
          d'un groupe restreint ou sur la place publique." The storyteller
          nightly
          tells his story about a woman who nightly tells her stories and who,
          like
          him, depends upon the approval of her audience in order to continue
          the narrative act and, ultimately, in order to stay alive. The pattern
          persists.

          The French quotation is from André Miquel, *Ajib et Gharib: Un conte des
          "Mille et une nuits"* (Paris, 1978) 225-26.

          As for how or why Bailey fudges the description of what a *samar* is, I
          think that you're seeing an almost subconscious mechanism by which the
          proponents of a particular theory smuggle their views into their offered
          readings of a body of knowledge that they calculate their audience to hold
          no expertise in. This happens all the time when preachers, with no seminary
          education and no facility in Hebrew or Greek beyond their ability to use
          Strong's concordance, smuggle their pet readings into the biblical lexicson,
          creating ridiculously long and theologically technical definitions of Hebrew
          and Greek words There is no doubt that they are smuggling their views into
          those words, yet I would venture that very few of them that do that sort of
          thing are at all aware of what they are doing. It's as if one side of their
          brain is fooling the other side. (Unfortunately, his sort of thing also
          happens at the highest levels of academia--e.g., it is the most generous
          explanation for the postliberals' revisionist history of hermeneutics. All
          one needs to do to deflate Hans Frei's claims about pre-Enlightenment
          hermeneutics is to read the hermeneutical programs of pre-Enlightenment
          figures.)


          John C. Poirier
          Middletown, Ohio


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Theodore Weeden" <Tweeden@...>
          To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Friday, September 08, 2006 12:35 PM
          Subject: [XTalk] Arabists' Challenge to Bailey's *haflat samar*
          Interpretation


          > Dear Listers,
          >
          > I need your help. . . .
        • Jim West
          ... Speaking of Arabic- Joshua Sabih has just completed a doctoral dissertation at Copenhagen on the development of the Arabic language. Ted, if you want his
          Message 4 of 16 , Sep 8 2:15 PM
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            At 04:53 PM 9/8/2006, you wrote:
            >Ted,
            >My response is as an anthropologist. Dictionary definitions are supposed to
            >be normative. They often have to offer secondary definitions where more
            >than one usage is common. Normative definitions are most useful when the
            >speech community is homogenous, in both space and time. You have a
            >scholar's definition that relies on a widely used dictionary of Arabic.
            >What I would want to know from each of your sources, as an anthropologist,
            >is which literary and speech communities are their primary sources? By this
            >I mean geographical referents (such as "Egyptian Arabic" or "Iraqi Arabic")
            >as well as class variants ( Literary Arabic, urban street Arabic, rural
            >desert Arabic) and sectarian variants (e.g., Shi'ite vs. Sunni vs.
            >Wahhabi). The Arabic speech community is widely dispersed, and local usages
            >may vary. One definition may not fit all Arabic speech communities now, let
            >alone 100 years ago. There can be Arabic apples and Arabic oranges, and its
            >best not to equate them.


            Speaking of Arabic- Joshua Sabih has just completed a doctoral
            dissertation at Copenhagen on the development of the Arabic
            language. Ted, if you want his email address drop me an offlist note
            and I will send it.

            Best

            Jim



            Jim West, ThD

            http://web.infoave.net/~jwest -- Biblical Studies Resources
            http://petrosbaptistchurch.blogspot.com -- Weblog

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Horace Jeffery Hodges
            ... desert Arabic) and sectarian variants (e.g., Shi ite vs. Sunni vs. Wahhabi). The Arabic speech community is widely dispersed, and local usages may vary.
            Message 5 of 16 , Sep 8 5:31 PM
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              Bob Schacht wrote:

              >>My response is as an anthropologist. Dictionary definitions are supposed to be normative. They often have to offer secondary definitions where more than one usage is common. Normative definitions are most useful when the speech community is homogenous, in both space and time. You have a scholar's definition that relies on a widely used dictionary of Arabic. What I would want to know from each of your sources, as an anthropologist, is which literary and speech communities are their primary sources? By this I mean geographical referents (such as "Egyptian Arabic" or "Iraqi Arabic") as well as class variants ( Literary Arabic, urban street Arabic, rural
              desert Arabic) and sectarian variants (e.g., Shi'ite vs. Sunni vs. Wahhabi). The Arabic speech community is widely dispersed, and local usages may vary. One definition may not fit all Arabic speech communities now, let alone 100 years ago. There can be Arabic apples and Arabic oranges, and its best not to equate them.<<

              This alone would radically call into question Bailey's use of Haflat Samar even if he happened to be correct about its meaning in one place at one time.

              If the term -- and the practice -- can vary so much even among Arabs, then what use is it for extrapolating back to an oral phase in the transmission of the Jesus tradition?

              Jeffery Hodges


              University Degrees:

              Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
              (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
              M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
              B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

              Email Address:

              jefferyhodges@...

              Blog:

              http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

              Office Address:

              Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
              Department of English Language and Literature
              Korea University
              136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
              Seoul
              South Korea

              Home Address:

              Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
              Sehan Apt. 102-2302
              Sinnae-dong 795
              Jungrang-gu
              Seoul 131-770
              South Korea

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Bob Schacht
              ... Now wait, Jeffery, let s not jump to conclusions. What Ted s Arabists told him was all the same thing, and all disagreed with Bailey. The thrust of my
              Message 6 of 16 , Sep 9 1:00 AM
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                At 02:31 PM 9/8/2006, Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:

                >Bob Schacht wrote:
                >
                > >>My response is as an anthropologist. Dictionary definitions are
                > supposed to be normative. They often have to offer secondary definitions
                > where more than one usage is common. Normative definitions are most
                > useful when the speech community is homogenous, in both space and time.
                > You have a scholar's definition that relies on a widely used dictionary
                > of Arabic. What I would want to know from each of your sources, as an
                > anthropologist, is which literary and speech communities are their
                > primary sources? By this I mean geographical referents (such as "Egyptian
                > Arabic" or "Iraqi Arabic") as well as class variants ( Literary Arabic,
                > urban street Arabic, rural
                >desert Arabic) and sectarian variants (e.g., Shi'ite vs. Sunni vs.
                >Wahhabi). The Arabic speech community is widely dispersed, and local
                >usages may vary. One definition may not fit all Arabic speech communities
                >now, let alone 100 years ago. There can be Arabic apples and Arabic
                >oranges, and its best not to equate them.<<
                >
                >This alone would radically call into question Bailey's use of Haflat Samar
                >even if he happened to be correct about its meaning in one place at one time.
                >
                >If the term -- and the practice -- can vary so much even among Arabs, then
                >what use is it for extrapolating back to an oral phase in the transmission
                >of the Jesus tradition?


                Now wait, Jeffery, let's not jump to conclusions. What Ted's Arabists told
                him was all the same thing, and all disagreed with Bailey. The thrust of my
                point was this: Can this disagreement be traced to regional or sectarian
                differences, or is Bailey the only odd ball out?

                For example, Bailey's speech community of reference was Egyptian, ca. 1900,
                rural(?), and perhaps Christian.

                So the question for Weeden's sources is this: does their expertise about
                the meaning of haflat samar include *Egyptian* usage with contexts similar
                to those to which Bailey was appearing? The point here is whether or not a
                case could be made that Bailey's Egyptian Arabs attached a different
                meaning than that current elsewhere.

                If Ted's expert consultants can be shown somehow to NOT encompass rural
                Egyptian villages, in view of their relative unanimity, one is also
                entitled to ask WHY the Egyptian usage differed so much from the rest.

                Furthermore, Bailey was trying to make a case that it wasn't just his
                village that did this. It was *Bailey* who was trying to make the case that
                the haflat samar was standard operating procedure that could be
                extrapolated back 2000 years and could be applied to early Christian
                communities throughout the MIddle East. I think Ted's research on this
                point shows rather conclusively that, once again, Bailey's dog won't hunt.

                It may be that Bailey's "informal controlled oral tradition" exists, but he
                has failed to fully identify and accurately describe it.

                Bob

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Theodore J. Weeden, Sr.
                ... Bob, and others, I had to go out of town yesterday afternoon and have tried to reply to the posts I have received via crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, but my
                Message 7 of 16 , Sep 9 5:11 AM
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                  --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, Bob Schacht <r_schacht@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > At 06:35 AM 9/8/2006, Theodore Weeden wrote:
                  > >Dear Listers,
                  > >
                  > >I need your help.
                  >
                  > [much snipped]

                  Bob, and others, I had to go out of town yesterday afternoon and have
                  tried to reply to the posts I have received via
                  crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, but my attempts at replying, beginning
                  with your post, Bob, somehow, keep getting screwed up. In
                  frustration, I have decided to wait until I get back, hopefully by
                  late today,to reply to you and others.

                  Ted
                • Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP
                  I m sorry, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with stereotyping Wisconsin Muslims within an intellectual category that can be retrojected two thousand
                  Message 8 of 16 , Sep 9 8:20 AM
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                    I'm sorry, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with stereotyping Wisconsin Muslims within an intellectual category that can be retrojected two thousand years back into history as representative of those hearers of the original spoken (chanted) gospels.

                    We must realize that the 21st century cannot shed as much light as we would like upon the 1st.

                    ------------------------------------------------------------
                    Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP, Hon. ASLA
                    edmiston@...
                    ------------------------------------------------------------
                    Ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου μετὰ πάντων.



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Theodore Weeden
                    ... [snip] ... Bob, I agree that dictionary definitions are considered normative for a given language, and often supply secondary defintions to account for
                    Message 9 of 16 , Sep 10 3:28 PM
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                      Bob Schacht wrote on September 08, 2006:

                      > At 06:35 AM 9/8/2006, Theodore Weeden wrote:
                      >>Dear Listers,
                      >>
                      >>I need your help.
                      >
                      > [much snipped]
                      >
                      >>The problem that I am now addressing is problem that I have discovered
                      >>with
                      >>Bailey's definition and interpretation of the Arabic phrase *haflat
                      >>samar*,
                      >>so foundational and indispensable to his theory. . . .
                      >>
                      >>In those interviews, I was given a different definition and culturally
                      >>contextual interpretation of *haflat samar*.. According to these native
                      >>Middle East persons *haflat samar* means a "gathering for amusement or
                      >>entertainment." Their translation of *haflat* was consistent with
                      >>Bailey's. But they offered a significantly different translation of
                      >>*samar*. ... the Arabic term *samar* means literally "nightly" or
                      >>"darkly" . . .and that *samar* also conveys the meaning of nightly
                      >>conversations, talks or
                      >>chats at night or at darkness.
                      >>
                      >>Furthermore, she told me that a *haflat samar* is an occasion when people
                      >>gather together at night to hear stories about historical events or
                      >>personages, with the emphasis being placed upon telling such stories for
                      >>entertainment or amusement. Thus, the primary purpose of telling these
                      >>stories is not to pass on historically authentic and authoritative,
                      >>factual
                      >>information about events and personages, but rather to entertain those
                      >>gathered, . . .

                      [snip]

                      > Ted,
                      > My response is as an anthropologist. Dictionary definitions are supposed
                      > to
                      > be normative. They often have to offer secondary definitions where more
                      > than one usage is common. Normative definitions are most useful when the
                      > speech community is homogenous, in both space and time.

                      Bob, I agree that dictionary definitions are considered normative for a
                      given language, and often supply secondary defintions to account for where a
                      particular culture using that language as a native language imputes its own
                      idiosyncratic vernacular meanings to a term that exceeds the bounds of
                      normative definition and may even be rhetorically in tension with the
                      normative. A good example comes from my childhood. I grew up in the South
                      where in refined and polite culture it was customary to use the word "shoot"
                      as an exclamation in frustration. disgust, etc. "Shoot" was obviously an
                      only slightly veiled substitute for the four-letter expletive referring to
                      feces (fearing violation of list protocal, I shall not explicitly cite
                      word). The power of the word "shoot" in such refined and polite settings
                      was that it was phonetically close enough to the four-letter expletive to
                      make it unmistakably clear that it was the word one really meant, but in a
                      bow to the honor of polite southern culture one abstained from using in
                      public.

                      It is interesting that my _Webster Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary_
                      provides some 59 normative and secondary definitions of "shoot," but it
                      fails to cite the usage of the word as an exclamation, and, of course, does
                      not include the four-letter expletive, the phonetic cousin of "shoot," among
                      words it has chosen to define. The Oxford English Dictionary does,
                      interestingly enough, in its multi-page list of definitions for "shoot" does
                      cite a definitive use of shoot (#18) as: "to eject from the body, . . . to
                      discharge (excreta)." But the _OED_ does not as far as I can tell cite the
                      usage of "shoot" as an expletive. It does, however, list the aforementioned
                      four-letter expletive among the words it defines, but, as far as I can tell,
                      makes no connection between "shoot" and its phonetic cousin."

                      My point is to support your point. Dictionary definitions of a word may not
                      take into consideration community-specific idiosyncratic connotations given
                      to the word. Consequently, without interviewing the people of the southern
                      Egyptian Hogg-founded, Christian communities to determine what nuanced
                      meaning they give/gave to the Arabic *samar*, we cannot rule out the
                      possibility that they used the word *samar* not only to mean a nightly
                      conversation, but, also, a conversation on certain matters presented to
                      insure their "preservation" from generation to generation.

                      However, that said, Bailey states that the definition he gives to *samar*
                      (i.e. "to preserve") is supported by the fact that the Arabic *samar* is a
                      cognate of the Hebrew word *shamar* (i.e., "to preserve"). Thus, that
                      linguistic phenomenon is analogous, if you permit me, to "shoot" and its
                      phonetic expletive-cousin: i.e, since *shamar* and *samar* are so closely
                      related phonetically, *samar* in the Hogg-founded communities took on the
                      meaning of its antecedent phonetic cousin. But, in my judgment, such a
                      connection is problematic for several reasons. First, linguistically,
                      where is the evidence that the Arabic *samar* is etymologically derived from
                      the Hebrew *shamar*? Second, what or who would have led the Hogg-founded
                      communities, oral societies, to make such a connection between the Hebrew
                      *shamar* and the Aramaic *samar*? Bailey does not refer to or allude to
                      the communities making such a connection. Third, in any case, Rena Hogg in
                      her biography of her father, John Hogg (*A Master Builder on the Nile__),
                      and I must re-read her biography to confirm this, never speaks, in any case,
                      of the Hogg-founded communities which she visited in 1910 holding nightly
                      meetings *to preserve* her father's tradition. To the contrary, she
                      suggests in her prologue (p. 14) that rather than faithfully and accurately
                      preserving the tradition of her father, legendary stories about her father
                      had proliferated to such an extent in the communities that she feared "there
                      is danger that the message of his life may be lost under a tangled mass of
                      fact and fiction."

                      > You have a
                      > scholar's definition that relies on a widely used dictionary of Arabic.
                      > What I would want to know from each of your sources, as an anthropologist,
                      > is which literary and speech communities are their primary sources? By
                      > this
                      > I mean geographical referents (such as "Egyptian Arabic" or "Iraqi
                      > Arabic")
                      > as well as class variants ( Literary Arabic, urban street Arabic, rural
                      > desert Arabic) and sectarian variants (e.g., Shi'ite vs. Sunni vs.
                      > Wahhabi). The Arabic speech community is widely dispersed, and local
                      > usages
                      > may vary. One definition may not fit all Arabic speech communities now,
                      > let
                      > alone 100 years ago. There can be Arabic apples and Arabic oranges, and
                      > its
                      > best not to equate them.

                      In my sharing of information provided me by Devin Stewart, I did note that
                      Martin Hinds and El-Said Badawi's _A Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic_
                      (Beirut: Librairie du Liban, 1986), a dictionary of modern Egyptian dialect,
                      has this entry on p. 429: "*h.aflit [the Egyptian dialectal pronunciation of
                      *h.aflat* or *haflat*, per Stewart] *samar*, an evening party or gathering
                      in the open air (usually around a camp-fire); verb *saamir*, *yisaamir*,
                      to spend the evening with (s.o.) in pleasant conversation, etc.;
                      *musamra*/*misamara*, evening spent in conversation with friends."

                      Thus, as far as Egyptian Arabic is concerned, the meaning of *samar* is the
                      same as was reported to me by all my interviewees. In fact, Nihal
                      Shahbandar, a native Lebanese woman who lives now in Appleton, Wisconsin,
                      and my first telephone interviewee, wrote me after that interview and
                      reported that she had made a number of telephone calls to Middle East people
                      living in Wisconsin to ask them what their recollections were of a *haflat
                      samar* in their native lands. She stated in her e-mail of 5/19/04 that the
                      Egyptians she spoke with recalled *hafalat samar* as "very amusing, funny,
                      and popular. They use [in *hafalat samar*] simple poems,and old songs,to
                      tell stories to preseve the traditions, but they are fictional with very
                      little truth, and they are used to inspire people. The performers are
                      extremely funny and talented in attracting the audience and they are masters
                      in coloring any background to please any nationality. I have been told that
                      those shows are not very popular with religious groups (Muslims or Coptics).
                      That is the information I collected today from Egyptians living in USA, and
                      they say it is still going on, but becoming less popular."

                      Following my initial telephone interview with Nihal Shahbandar, I sent her
                      three pages from the manuscript of my critique of Bailey in which I
                      presented Bailey's theory of informal controlled oral tradition, his
                      discovery of the methodology used for preserving the authenticity of oral
                      tradition in the 1950's and 60's in the Hogg-founded communities, and the
                      "rules" he claimed obtained in a *haflat samar* governing the recitation of
                      oral tradition. I asked her for her response to what Bailey presents.
                      She e-mailed back on 5/24/04:

                      "Mr Bailey discribtions [sic] of what he wittnesed in (Haflat Samar) brought
                      back so many good memories in my mind, I attended so may gathering like this
                      where old time was brought to life, with its proverbs, poems, old stories,
                      and music filling the air, every person attanded [sic] was so pleased, and
                      tried never to miss any coming occasions. the intention of attending
                      gatheing [sic] like this was to spend good time, it is very authentic way of
                      entertainment."

                      Then she went on to respond to one of the footnotes in the material I sent
                      her, which in part read as follows:, beginning with a quote from Bailey:

                      "I have often told well-known village stories to classes of Middle Eastern
                      theological college students. People from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and
                      Palestine have usually heard the same stories. I have watched the
                      students instinctively form the controlling community and together explain
                      to me the acceptable boundaries for a given story" (ET, 366).

                      Bailey reports one such experiment in full in his AJT article (44f.). In
                      that experiment, he told the class a story which he recited from memory, a
                      story he had heard ten years before (see 42-44) and a story which the
                      students themselves knew only via oral tradition. When the students
                      affirmed that he had correctly recited the story, Bailey proceeded to ask
                      them to tell him "what must be present in the recitation for them to sense
                      that [he] was telling the story correctly." The students produced, as
                      Bailey articulates, the following list of what had to be included in the
                      telling of the story for it to be told correctly, and I quote him fully:

                      "The proverb that appeared in the story had to be repeated verbatim. The
                      three basic scenes [of the story] could not be changed, but the order could
                      be reversed without triggering the community rejection mechanism. The basic
                      flow of the story and its conclusion had to remain the same. The names
                      could not be changed. The summary punch line was inviolable. However, the
                      teller could vary the pitch of the traveler's emotional reaction to Shann
                      [two characters in the story], and the dialogue within the flow of the story
                      could at any point reflect the individual teller's style and interests.
                      That is, the story teller had a certain freedom to tell the story in his own
                      way as long as the central thrust of the story was not changed. So here
                      was continuity and flexibility. Not continuity and change. The distinction
                      is important. Continuity and change could mean that the story teller could
                      change say 15% of the story - any 15%. Thus after seven transmissions of
                      the story theoretically *all* of the story could be changed. But
                      *continuity* and *flexibility* mean that the main lines of the story
                      *cannot* be changed at *all*. The story can endure one different
                      transmission through a chain of a hundred and one different people and the
                      inner core of the story remains intact. Within the structure, the
                      storyteller has flexibility within limits to 'tell his own way'" (all
                      emphases: Bailey).

                      Nihal Shahbandar continued her e-mail to me with this response to my
                      footnote:

                      "The question of how true it [what is recited in a *halfat samar*] is,was
                      best answered from Mr. Bailey " Continuity and and change could mean that
                      the storyteller could change say 15% of the story...." 15% yeary [sic]
                      leaves only fiction in 100 years. So when we go to those gathering , we
                      go to have good time, away from the painful present to a heavinly [sic]
                      past not searching its true reality or authenticity,or how heavnly [sic]
                      this past was when it was present."

                      Contrary to Bailey, she apparently understood that continuity leading to
                      *change* to the point of total fictionalization of stories was not
                      unexpected over generations in a *haflat samar*, rather than *continuity and
                      flexibility*, which Bailey argues obtains in a *halfat samar* in order to
                      preserve the authentic historical core elements of the recitation of
                      stories. From her point of view, the ultimate purpose of a *haflat samar*
                      was for entertainment and escape from "the painful present.*

                      She closed her e-mail of 5/24.04 with the following:.

                      "If you ask any *Arabic speaking person* [emphasis: Nihal Shahbandar] to
                      tell you what is the meaning of SAMAR the answers will be: ( having good
                      time), (meeting with people talking, drinking, dancing),
                      (entertainment),(time spend with a lot of fun and amusement). *From the
                      Arabic Dictionary* [emphasis: Nihal Shahbandar]: samar: (Talking with other
                      at night), (Talking at night about stories, Poems, ext), (Talking under moon
                      light)."

                      I return to your post to me, Bob, where you state the following:

                      > Of course, it is also possible that Bailey's definition is filtered
                      > through
                      > rose colored glasses. And, the Haflat Samar that he experienced may not
                      > have been typical.

                      That is true, Bob. It must have been extraordinarily atypical. What I do
                      not understand is why Bailey never reports in either of his articles that he
                      consulted with native authorities in the respective *hafalat samar* he
                      attended to check to see if what he observed and theorized from them was in
                      fact the case, i.e., the indispensable commitment to preserve the
                      historical authenticity of oral tradition. Furthermore, it strikes me as
                      strange that he develops his list of flexible and unalterable elements in
                      story telling from a classroom experiment with students and not from
                      interviews with native authorities in the Hogg-founded communities. It is
                      even more striking that his students from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and
                      Palestine in his classes would "instinctively form the controlling community
                      and together explain to me the acceptable boundaries for a given story,"
                      when the people from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt which were interviewed in my
                      inquiry about *haflat samar* did not report any controlling dynamic
                      exercised in their experience of *haflat samar*. Nihal Shahbandar implicity
                      suggests there was none.

                      Kelber and Vansina do report that an element of control is exercised in oral
                      societies to insure that the oral tradition is preserved to support social
                      identity, and that preventive censorship is exercised on the oral tradition
                      (whether historically authentic to its originating roots or not) if issues
                      of social identity in any moment of a community's existence necessitate it.
                      As I remember, Vansina reports that what may be considered to be authentic
                      tradition by one community authority may be replaced in a future generation
                      by an authority who has his own view of what is to be considered authentic,
                      regardless of whether it has any roots in historicity.

                      As an anthropologist, Bob, what do you make of all of this.?

                      Thanks for your response on this matter.instinctively form a controlling
                      group

                      Ted
                      Theodore J. Weeden, Sr.
                      Fairport, NY
                      Retired
                      Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
                    • Bob Schacht
                      ... [snip] ... [snip] ... [snip] ... Well, this might not be good math. The 15% implies that 85% is preserved. So the progression would go: 85% of 85% of
                      Message 10 of 16 , Sep 11 1:26 AM
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                        At 12:28 PM 9/10/2006, Theodore Weeden wrote:


                        >Bob Schacht wrote on September 08, 2006:
                        > > At 06:35 AM 9/8/2006, Theodore Weeden wrote:

                        [snip]


                        > > Ted,
                        >. . . Dictionary definitions of a word may not
                        >take into consideration community-specific idiosyncratic connotations given
                        >to the word. Consequently, without interviewing the people of the southern
                        >Egyptian Hogg-founded, Christian communities to determine what nuanced
                        >meaning they give/gave to the Arabic *samar*, we cannot rule out the
                        >possibility that they used the word *samar* not only to mean a nightly
                        >conversation, but, also, a conversation on certain matters presented to
                        >insure their "preservation" from generation to generation.
                        >
                        >However, that said, Bailey states that the definition he gives to *samar*
                        >(i.e. "to preserve") is supported by the fact that the Arabic *samar* is a
                        >cognate of the Hebrew word *shamar* (i.e., "to preserve"). Thus, . . .
                        >since *shamar* and *samar* are so closely
                        >related phonetically, *samar* in the Hogg-founded communities took on the
                        >meaning of its antecedent phonetic cousin. But, in my judgment, such a
                        >connection is problematic for several reasons. First, linguistically,
                        >where is the evidence that the Arabic *samar* is etymologically derived from
                        >the Hebrew *shamar*? Second, what or who would have led the Hogg-founded
                        >communities, oral societies, to make such a connection between the Hebrew
                        >*shamar* and the Aramaic *samar*? Bailey does not refer to or allude to
                        >the communities making such a connection. Third, in any case, Rena Hogg in
                        >her biography of her father, John Hogg (*A Master Builder on the Nile__),
                        >and I must re-read her biography to confirm this, never speaks, in any case,
                        >of the Hogg-founded communities which she visited in 1910 holding nightly
                        >meetings *to preserve* her father's tradition. To the contrary, she
                        >suggests in her prologue (p. 14) that rather than faithfully and accurately
                        >preserving the tradition of her father, legendary stories about her father
                        >had proliferated to such an extent in the communities that she feared "there
                        >is danger that the message of his life may be lost under a tangled mass of
                        >fact and fiction."

                        [snip]

                        >In my sharing of information provided me by Devin Stewart, I did note that
                        >Martin Hinds and El-Said Badawi's _A Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic_
                        >(Beirut: Librairie du Liban, 1986), a dictionary of modern Egyptian dialect,
                        >has this entry on p. 429: "*h.aflit [the Egyptian dialectal pronunciation of
                        >*h.aflat* or *haflat*, per Stewart] *samar*, an evening party or gathering
                        >in the open air (usually around a camp-fire); verb *saamir*, *yisaamir*,
                        >to spend the evening with (s.o.) in pleasant conversation, etc.;
                        >*musamra*/*misamara*, evening spent in conversation with friends."
                        >
                        >Thus, as far as Egyptian Arabic is concerned, the meaning of *samar* is the
                        >same as was reported to me by all my interviewees.

                        [snip]

                        >Nihal Shahbandar continued her e-mail to me with this response to my
                        >footnote:
                        >
                        >"The question of how true it [what is recited in a *halfat samar*] is,was
                        >best answered from Mr. Bailey " Continuity and and change could mean that
                        >the storyteller could change say 15% of the story...." 15% yeary [sic]
                        >leaves only fiction in 100 years. . . .

                        Well, this might not be good math. The 15% implies that 85% is preserved.
                        So the progression would go:
                        85% of 85% of 85%..... which is an asymptotic curve, not a straight line,
                        and it ends not in 0 but in an infinitesimally small amount (one word or
                        less). Nevertheless, the point is made.

                        >Contrary to Bailey, she apparently understood that continuity leading to
                        >*change* to the point of total fictionalization of stories was not
                        >unexpected over generations in a *haflat samar*, rather than *continuity and
                        >flexibility*, which Bailey argues obtains in a *halfat samar* in order to
                        >preserve the authentic historical core elements of the recitation of
                        >stories. From her point of view, the ultimate purpose of a *haflat samar*
                        >was for entertainment and escape from "the painful present.* . . .
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >I return to your post to me, Bob, where you state the following:
                        >
                        > > Of course, it is also possible that Bailey's definition is filtered through
                        > > rose colored glasses. And, the Haflat Samar that he experienced may not
                        > > have been typical.
                        >
                        >That is true, Bob. It must have been extraordinarily atypical. What I do
                        >not understand is why Bailey never reports in either of his articles that he
                        >consulted with native authorities in the respective *hafalat samar* he
                        >attended to check to see if what he observed and theorized from them was in
                        >fact the case, i.e., the indispensable commitment to preserve the
                        >historical authenticity of oral tradition.

                        I would not advise you to belabor the case, as you have a tendency to do. I
                        think you have plenty of information already, and all you need to do is to
                        present it, without vigorously pounding every single nail into place, but
                        rather allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions.

                        >Furthermore, it strikes me as
                        >strange that he develops his list of flexible and unalterable elements in
                        >story telling from a classroom experiment with students and not from
                        >interviews with native authorities in the Hogg-founded communities. It is
                        >even more striking that his students from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and
                        >Palestine in his classes would "instinctively form the controlling community
                        >and together explain to me the acceptable boundaries for a given story,"
                        >when the people from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt which were interviewed in my
                        >inquiry about *haflat samar* did not report any controlling dynamic
                        >exercised in their experience of *haflat samar*. Nihal Shahbandar implicity
                        >suggests there was none.

                        I agree that his case here is week, but I don't think you need to riddle it
                        with bullet holes. The evidence that you have on the plain meaning of
                        haflat samar, from Egyptian Arabic sources, and confirmed by general
                        Arabists, is sufficient to return the ball to his (or his supporter's)
                        court, if they wish to defend the Bailey thesis. I doubt that they will
                        choose to do so, because your case is much stronger than theirs.


                        >Kelber and Vansina do report that an element of control is exercised in oral
                        >societies to insure that the oral tradition is preserved to support social
                        >identity, and that preventive censorship is exercised on the oral tradition
                        >(whether historically authentic to its originating roots or not) if issues
                        >of social identity in any moment of a community's existence necessitate it.
                        >As I remember, Vansina reports that what may be considered to be authentic
                        >tradition by one community authority may be replaced in a future generation
                        >by an authority who has his own view of what is to be considered authentic,
                        >regardless of whether it has any roots in historicity.
                        >
                        >As an anthropologist, Bob, what do you make of all of this.?

                        I think this last paragraph is much more the important point (emphasis
                        added), and may indeed be salient regarding early Christian communities.

                        I think the focus should shift to identifying what were the salient issues
                        of social identity in early Christian communities. My prediction is that we
                        will find a small but diverse number of potent primary identity issues--
                        somewhere around 3-4-- that identify pre-Constantinian Christian
                        communities, e.g.,
                        * The nature of the person of Jesus (Messiah? Divinity? Humanity?
                        Relationship with God?)
                        * The nature of authority among the disciples and apostles, which
                        eventually includes the nature of authority among the sources of
                        information about Jesus (canon and creed)
                        * Soteriological issues of all kinds, including whether or not Gentiles
                        needed to become Jews in order to be saved-- i.e., what does it mean to be
                        a "Christian", or a follower of The Way? Note that here the focus is on the
                        ordinary person, not the leaders, or the sources, or Jesus himself.
                        Does this help?
                        Bob



                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Ken Olson
                        ... haflat samar, from Egyptian Arabic sources, and confirmed by general Arabists, is sufficient to return the ball to his (or his supporter s) court, if they
                        Message 11 of 16 , Sep 11 6:59 PM
                        • 0 Attachment
                          On September 11, 2006 Bob Schacht wrote:

                          >>The evidence that you have on the plain meaning of
                          haflat samar, from Egyptian Arabic sources, and confirmed by general
                          Arabists, is sufficient to return the ball to his (or his supporter's)
                          court, if they wish to defend the Bailey thesis. I doubt that they will
                          choose to do so, because your case is much stronger than theirs.<<

                          Bob,

                          Your faith in human nature is an inspiration to all young people---(Lucy Van
                          Pelt).

                          Best,

                          Ken

                          Kenneth A. Olson
                          MA, History, University of Maryland
                          PhD Student, Religion, Duke University
                        • Horace Jeffery Hodges
                          Joseph, whose post(s) are you charging with stereotyping and with retrojecting? Jeffery Hodges Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP wrote: I m
                          Message 12 of 16 , Sep 11 8:18 PM
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                            Joseph, whose post(s) are you charging with stereotyping and with retrojecting?

                            Jeffery Hodges

                            "Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP" <edmiston@...> wrote:
                            I'm sorry, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with stereotyping Wisconsin Muslims within an intellectual category that can be retrojected two thousand years back into history as representative of those hearers of the original spoken (chanted) gospels.

                            We must realize that the 21st century cannot shed as much light as we would like upon the 1st.

                            ------------------------------------------------------------
                            Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP, Hon. ASLA
                            edmiston@...
                            ------------------------------------------------------------



                            University Degrees:

                            Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                            (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
                            M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                            B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

                            Email Address:

                            jefferyhodges@...

                            Blog:

                            http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

                            Office Address:

                            Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                            Department of English Language and Literature
                            Korea University
                            136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
                            Seoul
                            South Korea

                            Home Address:

                            Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                            Sehan Apt. 102-2302
                            Sinnae-dong 795
                            Jungrang-gu
                            Seoul 131-770
                            South Korea

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Ken Olson
                            Jeffery, If what Joseph says is true, I believe this would mean that Ted need not show that the modern haflat samar is not as Bailey describes it, because
                            Message 13 of 16 , Sep 11 8:54 PM
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                              Jeffery,

                              If what Joseph says is true, I believe this would mean that Ted need not show that the modern "haflat samar" is not as Bailey describes it, because modern models may not be projected back to the first century in the way Bailey attempts anyway. Whether that was Joseph's intended meaning or not is another thing entirely. I think Joseph may have missed Ted's actual argument that the "haflat samar" does not function as Bailey says it does in modern times, much less in the first century.

                              Best,

                              Ken

                              Kenneth A. Olson
                              MA, History, University of Maryland
                              PhD Student, Religion, Duke University

                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: Horace Jeffery Hodges
                              To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Monday, September 11, 2006 11:18 PM
                              Subject: [XTalk] Re: Arabists' Challenge to Bailey's *haflat samar* Interpretation


                              Joseph, whose post(s) are you charging with stereotyping and with retrojecting?

                              Jeffery Hodges

                              "Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP" <edmiston@...> wrote:
                              I'm sorry, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with stereotyping Wisconsin Muslims within an intellectual category that can be retrojected two thousand years back into history as representative of those hearers of the original spoken (chanted) gospels.

                              We must realize that the 21st century cannot shed as much light as we would like upon the 1st.

                              ----------------------------------------------------------
                              Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP, Hon. ASLA
                              edmiston@...
                              ----------------------------------------------------------

                              University Degrees:

                              Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                              (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
                              M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                              B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

                              Email Address:

                              jefferyhodges@...

                              Blog:

                              http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/

                              Office Address:

                              Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                              Department of English Language and Literature
                              Korea University
                              136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
                              Seoul
                              South Korea

                              Home Address:

                              Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                              Sehan Apt. 102-2302
                              Sinnae-dong 795
                              Jungrang-gu
                              Seoul 131-770
                              South Korea

                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • afsegal
                              Do you think someone could review the bidding on this controversy. I have been in the hospital and was unable to see the original exchange. Since no one has
                              Message 14 of 16 , Sep 12 6:18 AM
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Do you think someone could review the bidding on this controversy. I
                                have been in the hospital and was unable to see the original
                                exchange. Since no one has actually repeated what the positions are,
                                everything since then has been pretty much incomprehensible. What
                                are the different positions on Haflat samar?

                                Best,

                                AFSeg./

                                Alan Segal
                                Barnard College

                                --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Ken Olson" <kenolson101@...>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > Jeffery,
                                >
                                > If what Joseph says is true, I believe this would mean that Ted
                                need not show that the modern "haflat samar" is not as Bailey
                                describes it, because modern models may not be projected back to the
                                first century in the way Bailey attempts anyway. Whether that was
                                Joseph's intended meaning or not is another thing entirely. I think
                                Joseph may have missed Ted's actual argument that the "haflat samar"
                                does not function as Bailey says it does in modern times, much less
                                in the first century.
                                >
                                > Best,
                                >
                                > Ken
                                >
                                > Kenneth A. Olson
                                > MA, History, University of Maryland
                                > PhD Student, Religion, Duke University
                                >
                                > ----- Original Message -----
                                > From: Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                > To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                                > Sent: Monday, September 11, 2006 11:18 PM
                                > Subject: [XTalk] Re: Arabists' Challenge to Bailey's *haflat
                                samar* Interpretation
                                >
                                >
                                > Joseph, whose post(s) are you charging with stereotyping and with
                                retrojecting?
                                >
                                > Jeffery Hodges
                                >
                                > "Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP" <edmiston@...> wrote:
                                > I'm sorry, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with
                                stereotyping Wisconsin Muslims within an intellectual category that
                                can be retrojected two thousand years back into history as
                                representative of those hearers of the original spoken (chanted)
                                gospels.
                                >
                                > We must realize that the 21st century cannot shed as much light
                                as we would like upon the 1st.
                                >
                                > ----------------------------------------------------------
                                > Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP, Hon. ASLA
                                > edmiston@...
                                > ----------------------------------------------------------
                                >
                                > University Degrees:
                                >
                                > Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                                > (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and
                                Gnostic Texts")
                                > M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                                > B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University
                                >
                                > Email Address:
                                >
                                > jefferyhodges@...
                                >
                                > Blog:
                                >
                                > http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/
                                >
                                > Office Address:
                                >
                                > Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                > Department of English Language and Literature
                                > Korea University
                                > 136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
                                > Seoul
                                > South Korea
                                >
                                > Home Address:
                                >
                                > Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                > Sehan Apt. 102-2302
                                > Sinnae-dong 795
                                > Jungrang-gu
                                > Seoul 131-770
                                > South Korea
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                              • Asegal@aol.com
                                Actually, I take this back. Sorry for bothering the group. As soon as I accessed the website I was able to reread the whole controversy. I made the
                                Message 15 of 16 , Sep 12 6:33 AM
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Actually, I take this back. Sorry for bothering the group. As soon as I
                                  accessed the website I was able to reread the whole controversy. I made the
                                  mistake of thinking I was still signed in and that there was no history. Sorry
                                  for that.

                                  Best,

                                  AFSeg./

                                  In a message dated 9/12/2006 9:31:33 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                                  Asegal@... writes:




                                  Do you think someone could review the bidding on this controversy. I
                                  have been in the hospital and was unable to see the original
                                  exchange. Since no one has actually repeated what the positions are,
                                  everything since then has been pretty much incomprehensible. What
                                  are the different positions on Haflat samar?

                                  Best,

                                  AFSeg./

                                  Alan Segal
                                  Barnard College

                                  --- In _crosstalk2@yahoogrocrossta_ (mailto:crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com) ,
                                  "Ken Olson" <kenolson101@ken>
                                  wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Jeffery,
                                  >
                                  > If what Joseph says is true, I believe this would mean that Ted
                                  need not show that the modern "haflat samar" is not as Bailey
                                  describes it, because modern models may not be projected back to the
                                  first century in the way Bailey attempts anyway. Whether that was
                                  Joseph's intended meaning or not is another thing entirely. I think
                                  Joseph may have missed Ted's actual argument that the "haflat samar"
                                  does not function as Bailey says it does in modern times, much less
                                  in the first century.
                                  >
                                  > Best,
                                  >
                                  > Ken
                                  >
                                  > Kenneth A. Olson
                                  > MA, History, University of Maryland
                                  > PhD Student, Religion, Duke University
                                  >
                                  > ----- Original Message -----
                                  > From: Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                  > To: _crosstalk2@yahoogrocrossta_ (mailto:crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com)
                                  > Sent: Monday, September 11, 2006 11:18 PM
                                  > Subject: [XTalk] Re: Arabists' Challenge to Bailey's *haflat
                                  samar* Interpretation
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Joseph, whose post(s) are you charging with stereotyping and with
                                  retrojecting?
                                  >
                                  > Jeffery Hodges
                                  >
                                  > "Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP" <edmiston@..e> wrote:
                                  > I'm sorry, but there seems to be a fundamental problem with
                                  stereotyping Wisconsin Muslims within an intellectual category that
                                  can be retrojected two thousand years back into history as
                                  representative of those hearers of the original spoken (chanted)
                                  gospels.
                                  >
                                  > We must realize that the 21st century cannot shed as much light
                                  as we would like upon the 1st.
                                  >
                                  > ------------ ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
                                  > Joseph T. Edmiston, FAICP, Hon. ASLA
                                  > edmiston@...
                                  > ------------ ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
                                  >
                                  > University Degrees:
                                  >
                                  > Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
                                  > (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and
                                  Gnostic Texts")
                                  > M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
                                  > B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University
                                  >
                                  > Email Address:
                                  >
                                  > jefferyhodges@ je
                                  >
                                  > Blog:
                                  >
                                  > _http://gypsyscholarhttp://gypsyschttp_
                                  (http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/)
                                  >
                                  > Office Address:
                                  >
                                  > Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                  > Department of English Language and Literature
                                  > Korea University
                                  > 136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
                                  > Seoul
                                  > South Korea
                                  >
                                  > Home Address:
                                  >
                                  > Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                                  > Sehan Apt. 102-2302
                                  > Sinnae-dong 795
                                  > Jungrang-gu
                                  > Seoul 131-770
                                  > South Korea
                                  >
                                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  >







                                  Alan F. Segal
                                  Professor of Religion
                                  Ingeborg Rennert Professor of Jewish Studies
                                  Barnard College, Columbia University
                                  3009 Broadway
                                  219 Milbank Hall
                                  New York City NY 10027-6598

                                  asegal@...
                                  asegal@...


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Theodore Weeden
                                  ... Thank you, John. I hope to be able to get it finished and in publication. ... Thank you for drawing my attention to Naddaff s work and the Miquel quote
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Sep 12 7:03 PM
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                                    John Poirier wrote on September 08, 2006:

                                    > Ted,
                                    >
                                    > I look forward to reading your finished article.

                                    Thank you, John. I hope to be able to get it finished and in publication.

                                    > Your reference to the *samar* roots of the 1001 Nights reminded me of a
                                    > book
                                    > that I read years ago: Sandra Naddaff's *Arabesque: Narrative Structure
                                    > and
                                    > the Aesthetics of Repetition in 1001 Nights* (Evanston, IL: Northwestern
                                    > Univ. Press, 1991). On p. 65 of that book, Naddaff writes:
                                    >
                                    > One should begin at the beginning, in this case, outsdide the text,
                                    > and
                                    > remember that the earliest version of the *1001 Nights* was an aurally
                                    > intended work perrformed before a live audience. André Miquel notes
                                    > that it was possibly told as part of the *samar*, "cette pratique
                                    > quasi
                                    > institutionnêlle de la culture arabo-musulmane classique: la
                                    > conversation
                                    > nocturne. . . . Le *samar* est d'ordinaire ce qui clôt la journée
                                    > active,
                                    > avant le repos nocturne, et l'on a toutes raisons de penser que c'est
                                    > de
                                    > ce type-là que relève le *samar* du conteur, qu'on l'imagine au milieu
                                    > d'un groupe restreint ou sur la place publique." The storyteller
                                    > nightly
                                    > tells his story about a woman who nightly tells her stories and who,
                                    > like
                                    > him, depends upon the approval of her audience in order to continue
                                    > the narrative act and, ultimately, in order to stay alive. The
                                    > pattern
                                    > persists.
                                    >
                                    > The French quotation is from André Miquel, *Ajib et Gharib: Un conte des
                                    > "Mille et une nuits"* (Paris, 1978) 225-26.

                                    Thank you for drawing my attention to Naddaff's work and the Miquel quote
                                    with reference to *samar*. This all is consistent with what Arabic
                                    authorities and Middle East people I have interviewed have shared with me
                                    with respect to the historical character and purpose of *haflat samar*.

                                    > As for how or why Bailey fudges the description of what a *samar* is, I
                                    > think that you're seeing an almost subconscious mechanism by which the
                                    > proponents of a particular theory smuggle their views into their offered
                                    > readings of a body of knowledge that they calculate their audience to hold
                                    > no expertise in.

                                    [snip]

                                    I am not prepared to say why and how Bailey arrived at a different
                                    interpretation of the character and purpose of a *haflat samar* than appears
                                    to be widely held by others. Naddaff and Miquel are yet two more examples
                                    of this widely held view. For all the reasons I have cited in posts
                                    regarding this thread, it is difficult for me to understand how oral
                                    societies in Southern Egypt would, per Bailey, hold such a radically
                                    different and extraordinarily atypical view of their *hafalat samar*,
                                    namely, as almost nightly meetings with the indispensable agenda of
                                    preserving the historical authenticity of their oral tradition about John
                                    Hogg, their missionary founder. Largely illiterate, it is difficult for me
                                    to understand how such societies would draw a connection, as Bailey does,
                                    between the Hebrew *shamar* ("preserve") and the Arabic *samar*, and thus
                                    arrived at an idiosyncratic meaning of *haflat samar* as a "party for
                                    preservation," per Bailey.

                                    > This happens all the time when preachers, with no seminary
                                    > education and no facility in Hebrew or Greek beyond their ability to use
                                    > Strong's concordance, smuggle their pet readings into the biblical
                                    > lexicson,
                                    > creating ridiculously long and theologically technical definitions of
                                    > Hebrew
                                    > and Greek words There is no doubt that they are smuggling their views
                                    > into
                                    > those words, yet I would venture that very few of them that do that sort
                                    > of
                                    > thing are at all aware of what they are doing. It's as if one side of
                                    > their
                                    > brain is fooling the other side. (Unfortunately, his sort of thing also
                                    > happens at the highest levels of academia--e.g., it is the most generous
                                    > explanation for the postliberals' revisionist history of hermeneutics.
                                    > All
                                    > one needs to do to deflate Hans Frei's claims about pre-Enlightenment
                                    > hermeneutics is to read the hermeneutical programs of pre-Enlightenment
                                    > figures.)

                                    What you describe can and does happen, unfortunately. Not only should we
                                    be cognizant and wary of such with respect to others, but we need to remain
                                    vigilant and self-critically honest with respect to ourselves on this issue.

                                    Ted Weeden
                                    Theodore J. Weeden, Sr,
                                    Fairport, NY
                                    Retired
                                    Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
                                    Theodore
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